The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) announced it is authorizing the importation of cold-treated fresh citrus from South Africa into all U.S. ports of entry. Previously, APHIS restricted the entry of cold-treated citrus fruit from South Africa to four U.S. ports that have cold-treatment facilities. APHIS scientists determined that citrus fruit from South Africa, which is cold treated in transit, can safely enter all U.S. ports of entry without increasing the risk of introducing the false codling moth or other pests of concern.
False codling moth is a pest of concern. (Photo credit: Pests and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org)
However, Florida Citrus Packers Executive Vice President Peter Chaires said the association “is disappointed in the risk assessment conducted by USDA. We continue to believe that the risk is far greater than they have identified. Florida agriculture, and in particular citrus, has suffered greatly from the introduction of pest and disease from outside our borders. It makes little sense to increase the risk of new introductions through Florida and southern ports, when imported fruits, vegetables and other high-risk produce can gain access to the American market through northern ports while minimizing the risk to domestic producers.”
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